Addiction recovery requires that you reclaim your power! Drug addiction, food addiction, alcoholism... once these physical addictions are overcome the next level to address is the mind.
This opens up a whole wonderful frontier for moving forward. Life is a grand adventure to be lived. There is no reason to go back into the darkness of addiction.
Addiction recovery is addressed throughout our culture in various ways. There is the big business of rehabilitation and addiction counseling. Whole complex agencies are in business for the purpose of education about addiction recovery. . Social service agencies are full of addicts, alcoholics and their families, for addiction recovery support of all kinds.
Behind all of the addiction recovery businesses that run because of addiction are the heartbreaking stories about addicts and addiction. These stories have been around for centuries. There are powerful stories about addiction in the Bible- the old testament is full of admonishments about drinking.
Carl Jung and his followers have popularized the concept of archetypes, using the psychological approach to identify parts of self and personality types. This is how we find out about ourselves, in art and the stories told through generations. Sometimes these parts of us are hidden in the stories (Jesus and other great teachers hid messages in parables) to be found by the subconscious.
Of course, there is value in having the subconscious work for us behind the scenes like that. Lessons in stories, like subliminal messages, teach us how to relate to and in the world. We experience lessons like this every time we turn on the tv, read a book or watch a movie. The stories get into our minds and program us from deep inside.
It is time now though, to live consciously. Anyone who has experienced addiction has felt what it is like to be victim of one's own body - an uncontrollable drive toward a certain behavior. But anyone can use addiction as a metaphor for not wanting to move from subconscious or unconscious living to a life of conscious living.
Modern science has explained that our thoughts create chemicals in the brain. Just as heroin is addictive, so, these brain chemicals create addiction in the form of addiction to thoughts.
Accepting new ideas can be the launching pad for addiction recovery.
A number of years ago someone did me a favor. He gave me a challenge and never gave me the answer. He just laid it out there and left it.
I was in a bad spot and here is what he said, "If you could think differently, do you think that you'd be ok?"
Even though he never gave me the answer, I've been finding it out ever since then. That was about 20 years ago.
Since that time I made a pact with a couple of very dear and good friends. Our deal is that we want to be conscious in every area of our lives. Since we made that decision all sorts of adventures have opened to each of us and we've been on our very own personal magical mystery tour!
My feeling is that each of us can be on this adventure. Life is a self-guided tour and there are a TON of helpers along the way.
Some of those helpers include those archetypes that previously were just parts of stories or images in art.
Here is a story about addiction, the pain, the suffering, the drama, and the release of addiction recovery. This is an old story, told to children for many generations. Hans Christian Anderson wrote this story in the second half of the 19th century in a time in which, for all intents and purposes may have been another planet, rather than just another time and country. Language was different. Values, mostly, were different. Addiction, though, looks the same.
Language and attention are so very important. In reading a story, you can frequently tell where the plot will go by noticing what the character is noticing and saying (not unlike "real" life!!)
It is possible for you to take control of your own experience! Break free of the shackles of addiction to your own thoughts (or any other addiction). Addiction recovery applies to thoughts as well as to substances.
Here are three powerful tools to keep life's executioner from cutting you off at the knees:
1- What are you paying attention to? The mind is fertile soil. Addiction recovery is very much about joining with Source/Higher Power to live a different life, to receive new ideas. Whatever you plant will grow in the mind.
After Karen made her first trip to the crack house (er- I mean shoe store... sorry) the world was a different place for her. At the very beginning of the story we learned that Karen was "pretty and delicate". That is all we know of her. That, and she was poor. But look at that girl go, once she gets a taste of fashion! Even the mirror talks to her! (and she's not sharing any, either). Even when she goes to church, Karen is far more interested in her own musings, than in the heavenly messages.
2- What words are you using? Even though we think too quickly to notice words, it is actually possible to change your thoughts by consciously thinking words. Notice that Karen, as a new addict, is in church and forgets to pray but thinks instead about her red shoes. What do those different thoughts create? There is scientific evidence that we can think only one conscious thought at a time. What do you think the results are if one person chooses to think "God" or "Higher Power" or "Love" and another thinks "heroin", "crack" or "whiskey"? Try it now- do you feel different saying any of those words? Addiction recovery is all about accepting new thoughts - even if they are completely foreign.
3- What are you doing? As thoughts and words are powerful in creating, so are actions. We see Karen in various parts of her addiction and recovery through this story. We see her in various stages of comfort and discomfort. At some points Karen's choices are made by the shoes. At other times, Karen makes her own decisions. But here is a third scenario (and one available to all of us ALL OF THE TIME) Karen finds herself in good surroundings and identifies that she got there "through mercy"! Call it what you like, the energy of mercy, power of grace, angels, luck... There are many names for what happens when life supports you and you identify it as a power greater than the power you brought to the situation.
One of the tools Karen uses when she starts her new life without her red shoes is that she moves to a parsonage, to be of service, to be industrious. She is helpful and she spends time with the children. While her past is still her past, she doesn't brag about it, or tell colorful stories to the children. When they bring up her past she shakes her head. It is through her actions, however, that Karen changes her position in life. She brings good to her new home, where she used to bring pain. By changing her actions, Karen's role has changed. Are you already in addiction recovery and would like to talk about recovery from addiction to thoughts? Do you want more information on how to use the tools that are available to change addictive thinking?
The pictures on this page are of pieces of art created by Teresa Moorehouse Howley, a narrative sculptor and creator of Soul Story Sculpture. The images in Teresa's work speak directly to the soul- each piece she makes has parts of our Selves right in the images.
...or contact a health care professional.